JavaScript Benchmarking - Google Chrome vs. Chromium vs. Opera vs Firefox

A small comparison test

Google has just released a brand-new beta of its Google Chrome web browser. As is usually the case, it touts it as the fastest Chrome ever and cites significant JavaScript performance improvements over the previous beta and the first Chrome release. But, unlike the time the Google browser was first launched, it’s facing a much  more serious competition. So is Google Chrome still king or has someone else stolen the crown?

We decided to find out with some quick and dirty benchmarks, putting Google Chrome 5.0.375.23 Beta against its stepbrother Chromium 5.0.396.0 (46440), Mozilla Firefox 3.6.3, Opera 10.53 Beta 1 and Opera 10.10. As you can see, it’s a mix of stable, semi-stable and outright development builds so take that into consideration when looking at the results.

All browsers were running on Ubuntu 10.04 on a dedicated, but rather modest machine so don’t expect any record-breakers. Because we’re talking Linux here, there’s no Internet Explorer or Safari thrown in for comparison. We tried to keep the results as clean as possible, but the benchmarks aren’t scientific, by any means. The scores are the median of several runs of the benchmarks. The V8 benchmark was run 10 times in a row, SunSpider 5 times. The colorful charts were created with this nice tool.

Google V8 benchmarking suite

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First up, Google’s own V8 Benchmarking suite, version 5. Google developers created the benchmark for their own internal use and it has been made available to everyone. Google’s browsers lead by a fair margin in this benchmark, though, Opera 10.53, which is still in beta on Linux, is showing some pretty impressive results. Firefox doesn’t like the V8 benchmarks a whole lot. As for Opera 10.10, the results speak for themselves.

SunSpider JavaScript benchmark

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The SunSpider benchmark was developed by Apple’s WebKit development team to test JavaScript performance. It has proven balanced and reliable and is regularly used to compare web browser speed. Opera 10.53 beta 1 takes the crown here with a very good showing. When compared to the lacuster performance of Opera 10.10, the speed gains are truly impressive. Google Chrome and Chromium are very close together, with the open-source offering taking a small advantage. Firefox trails behind.

Sputnik JavaScript compliance test

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Finally, since speed isn’t always everything, we ran the Sputnik JavaScript compliance suite of tests also developed by Google. It’s a thorough ordeal for the browsers as it goes through 5246 specially designed tests. The winner, perhaps surprising to some, is Opera, which fares a lot better than either Google Chrome or Firefox. Interestingly, it looks like Google’s V8 engine is getting some serious work these days as Chromium is showing significant improvements in compliance, to complement the  decent performance gains also visible. As for conclusions, we’ll leave them up to you.

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